NEXT STEPS IN FAITH
God is real, is active in our world and wants you to know him. So what’s the real hurdle to this relationship?
It’s easy to look at the problems in the world and at our own internal mess and decide that, if there is a God out there, he’s not interested or engaged in our lives. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It might be painful to admit it, but deep down, as much as we would like to think of ourselves as generally good, we know that our first inclination is for our own interests, pleasure and priorities. But we’re tired of trying to find meaning in meaningless things, tired of being dependent on others for our worth. We know there has to be a better way to go through this life.
At our very core, even closer to the soul than we can fathom, we have this sense of what is right and wrong. We know what fairness looks like, and we know the sting of injustice.
You’ve probably felt a nudge towards doing good at times when you know it would be in your best interests to do otherwise. Where does this innate sense of right and wrong come from? This belief that there’s just something more out there?
This voice comes from God. We were made to have this yearning for God. He’s been with us every step of the way, since before our first step. He offers us hope for something better in this life and hope for life beyond death for those who trust him.
The amazing thing about a journey toward knowing God is that he already knows us, loves us, and has been working in our souls since before you were born. God is waiting for us to invite him to transform our hearts, minds, and souls.
GOD WANTS TO RE-MAKE YOU INTO A NEW PERSON
God has a plan for your life. But sin (any deliberate action, attitude or thought that goes against God) separates us from his plan. So God created a way for us – as imperfect humans – to know him, even though he is perfect. God’s son, Jesus Christ, walked on this earth as both fully divine and fully human. He died a sacrificial death in order for us to be made right before God, and he defeated death by coming alive three days later (the resurrection). Through Jesus, we all can be cleansed of our sin and given the gift of eternal life.
Reach out: Accepting this gift starts with admitting your need for God. You must come to a place where you understand that you simply can’t do it on your own, that you’re chasing after dreams that are failing, never finding satisfaction in anything or anyone, never able to do enough to be good enough and you cry out for something greater to live for.
Look inside: The Bible clearly states – and we all can agree based on our own life experiences – that we’re all sinners, all in need of Jesus to remove the stain of our sins. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23).
Understand the gift: The Bible also proclaims the good news: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Everyone can receive God’s forgiveness.
You can receive forgiveness if you trust that God really can take away your sin and erase all your past history. He promises to guide you through life’s challenges and enable you to live a pure, holy life: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
We can’t earn this salvation; there is nothing we can do by our own power to deserve it. We are saved by God’s grace simply when we have faith in his Son, Jesus Christ. All you have to do is acknowledge that you are a sinner, that Jesus died to cleanse you of your sins and ask his forgiveness. He already knows you and loves you beyond what you can imagine! He is ready to extend forgiveness that will release you from your burdens.
READY TO TAKE YOUR NEXT STEPS?
Praying to an unseen God can be intimidating at first. Eventually, it will feel as natural as breathing. Start by simply talking to him. This prayer is the beginning of accepting the wonderful gift of salvation in Jesus Christ:
I know I have messed up in my life. I have sinned, and that has created a barrier between you and me. I need your forgiveness. I know I can’t do it on my own. I want to turn away from everything that I know is wrong. Right now, I choose to trust in you. I choose to accept your free gift of eternal life, and I believe that your sacrificial death freed me from this sin-baggage I have carried for so long. Please come into my life, renew me, love me and stay with me forever.
Thank you, Jesus. Amen.”
When you welcome God in, he in turn will give himself fully to you, no strings attached. It is because of Jesus Christ’s act of utter selflessness, when he made the ultimate sacrifice for us, that we are able to have this kind of authentic relationship with him.